One way of seeing the photograph of my brother slicing a grapefruit circa 2012


your hands were virgin


no scorpion crawling forearm
no Japanese knuckle


enflamed by my love
grow to be giant

anybody in town 
dare speak ill 
throats cradled in the jaw
of that cold power
& the snake on your dorsum now 

my holy boy 
my downtrodden god 

all the childish dream
all the embellishment

    you rose to 

with death 
on elbow 
always proud
sign of the struggle
twirling shoulder to fingertip now



is it the influence of our mutual expectation?
you were once a soft paperclip of a boy
circa 2012
glass joe


I arrive some kind of whitewashed slate 
to your apartment one night
we sat out on the fire escape,
one of those special places 
where the world swims by 
& one may feel a calm distance, 
watch the fools game from different light  
the new youth gentrifiers were making their first assaults on 25th
every few weeks another faux industrial wash room to get an eight dollar drink opened up
across the way the projects building teetered on the worlds rim 
& men sit out in the shadowy courtyard
behind that flimsy iron rod fence 
all day long
watch the world swim by 
round two a.m. 
the road imitates the beach & fish start rolling up on the sidewalk
spilling out from the bright light doorways 
into the cold desolate air of clevelan
that special white kind of cold that steals heat from you 
even only in thought 
freezes the pathetic beard to me face in a matter of seconds
& everyone drunk 
loud laugh maybe crying white woman careens into the sidewalk over her step
& an oaf of a boy fumbling to collect a bag of marbles spilled
suddenly remembering where he is 
to look over shoulder 
before leaning down


we toss pennies into the water 
like we know better
fall back into apartment
pull the mattress to the living room
& sleep like brothers
between the brick walls 
of that little cell


the sickness was starting then 
back before it was in fashion
& I’m too young
to really know what it means
figured you’d be ok 
so long as I checked your pulse now & then


in the morning we made breakfast 
you sliced a grapefruit 
with peculiar care 
enough to make my teeth cold


I thought you were tough
because I remembered you
from before we ever met


& what would you have
of me?